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China cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, stepping up efforts to combat a deepening economic slowdown as Europe’s worsening debt crisis threatens global growth.

The benchmark one-year lending rate will drop to 6.31 percent from 6.56 percent effective tomorrow, the People’s Bank of China said on its website today. The one-year deposit rate will fall to 3.25 percent from 3.5 percent. Banks can also offer a 20 percent discount to the benchmark lending rate, the PBOC said, widening from a previous 10 percent.

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